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not to buy the Big Issue again??

(63 Posts)
ptumbi Wed 24-Dec-14 15:51:51

I walked past a Big Issue seller just now; I usually buy if I have a few quid. Gave her a fiver (cover price £3) chatted a bit about Xmas, went on.
On way back popped into waitrose (for reduced stuff) and as I had a spare fiver, thought I'd get another Big Issue for dp; good deed and all that. Gave another fiver,
She called after me, she has rent due tomorrow, £80, can I help? I've just bought 2 Big Issues, for £10 that prob cost her £2 , that is obv not enough. What more can I do?
Go on, tell me I should have paid her rent! Tis the season. Should I have done more?

Cantbelievethisishappening Wed 24-Dec-14 15:59:06

Did she have an ID badge on?

Chocolateteacake Wed 24-Dec-14 16:01:00

They aren't supposed to charge more than cover price or take the money and not give the magazine (some people don't want to take it).

There was an angry looking guy who used to sell it near us.

I usually say (polite smile) 'no thank you' if they ask, and one day he just bellowed after me something about not wanting to sell the effing thing to me anyway (bitch), I didn't have to buy one (cow) rant rant rant, calling me some choice names too. He was pissed as a fart and was usually hanging put with his sit-on-the-pavement-pissed-begging-mates. I'm not even sure he was a legit big issuer either. I heard from a nice seller that some bastards steal a copies and sell them (no badge).

FishWithABicycle Wed 24-Dec-14 16:03:01

Big Issue vendors are not allowed to beg - it's an intrinsic part of their t&cs.
Nobody has rent due on 25th December. No way to pay surely?

YABU to consider never buying the big issue again. The organisation itself and most of it's vendors are well worth supporting. YWNBU to never buy from that specific vendor again as he's clearly taking the piss.

YWNBU to consider possibly reporting this exchange to the big issue head office and enquiring if this behaviour would be in line with their expectations of their vendors. However, think carefully whether and if so how to do this, what with it being the season of goodwill to all men. Unless handled with great care it's likely that reporting it could lead to them losing their job.

vrtra Wed 24-Dec-14 16:03:42

Nah no sympathy. Even if she was not British, selling big issue counts as self employed so you can get tax credits and housing benefit. Fuck paying her rent. Might sound harsh, but I am skint and not feeling festive having been asked to buy one 14 times by 8 different sellers in my small town today. 14 copies is over 40 quid which is more than my entire spends this week. She's spotted a kind hearted person and trying to milk it sad report her tbh, they are not allowed to beg as it brings the magazine into disrepute.

CornishCreamPuff Wed 24-Dec-14 16:06:04

The big issue seller saw that you were clearly sympathetic to her cause and decided to try her luck. From her perspective it's a case of 'in for a penny in for a pound'.
Dont't take it to heart and try not to worry about it. A breezy 'No, nice try' would have sufficed.m

Ubik1 Wed 24-Dec-14 16:06:46

Just forget about it. The vendor is in a really tough situation. Sometimes it makes people behave in odd ways.

ptumbi Wed 24-Dec-14 16:29:37

Not sure of she had a badge; to be honest it's a good pitch (outside waitrose) and I've bought from sellers there before. I've bought a carton of soup for the young girl there before, and feel that it is a good cause. She had a whole backpack of them to sell. I didn't think her rent would be due on Christmas day either , but she said she had 4 children at home...
It's made me feel mean and stingy, not charitable and christmassy!
I don't think I'd report her, but I certainly won't buy from her again.
Incidentally, chocolateteacake -I always give at least 50p over the cover price. They usually ask if I want the change, or they just assume I don't. I didn't realise you're not supposed to

Alisvolatpropiis Wed 24-Dec-14 16:31:33

You'd have been bloody mad to pay her rent.

I'd report her to the Big Issue, actually.

DragonMamma Wed 24-Dec-14 16:35:22

I had a problem with a Big issue vendor recently, he was flogging really out of date issues and seemed to have a load. he'd even scratched the date off the front cover enough that I didn't realise until I started seeing adverts for events that happened in the summer.

I reported it to the Big issue but didn't get a response

jerryfudd Wed 24-Dec-14 16:36:55

She was trying her luck because you were generous. I'd have replied "look, I'm generous, not a mug" and thought no more of it

TipsyMcStaggers Wed 24-Dec-14 16:37:38

Cheeky fucker! Hope you told her to do one. Unbelievable <shakes head and sighs>

RhiWrites Wed 24-Dec-14 16:39:21

That was one Big Issue seller. Don't judge them all on this one incident. You wouldn't like if if people judged you on the basis of everyone who has your job or your hair colour.

19lottie82 Wed 24-Dec-14 16:43:25

Yes I agree. Selling the big issue counts as "working" so the sellers can claim tax credits and Housing benefit. Chances are she thought you were a soft touch and is chancing her arm. I'd just give her the number of the Shelter hotline and tell her to call them for some advice if she can't pay her rent.

Hatespiders Wed 24-Dec-14 16:50:18

The prisoners I visited all told me that the Big Issue sellers are nearly all on Class A drugs. This lassie you gave to wanted to buy her heroin etc for the Christmas period. The prisoners also said that the last thing a Big Issue seller wants is to be bought a cup of coffee and some sandwiches (which is what I used to do). They groan inside if you do that. They want money, just money. Whether this is a fact or not I leave to you to judge. But the prisons were all over UK so it might be only too true!

YoullLikeItNotaLot Wed 24-Dec-14 16:59:14

I dont think it's a big secret that a lot of a Big Issue sellers use drugs is it? No one is going to be surprised by that. Selling the magazine is supposed to be a footstep towards turning their life around - bit of dignity through selling the mag rather than out begging. Works for some people and is really effective "first step". Obviously nothing works for all people though.

ptumbi Wed 24-Dec-14 16:59:39

Eerrr rhi - I do buy. I buy about 3/4 times year. I wasn't judging; I was being tapped!
Hatespiders - really? Beggars I can believe, but I thought Big Issue sellers were vetted? I've been asked for more than the amount I've given (always more than the cover price) but never for £80!

YoullLikeItNotaLot Wed 24-Dec-14 17:01:47

Come on OP, if you buy the Big Issue, you must have read done of the featured? There's often a "look at me now" bit with people explains how they ended up selling the Big a Issue and how it has helped - drugs features a lot.

WooWooOwl Wed 24-Dec-14 17:07:00

It's stories like this that made me stop buying the big issue. It's sad, what started out as a really good and positive thing has been spoiled by a few people who don't stick to the rules. I used to buy it regularly, but was put off by them always asking for more or assuming they could keep your change after already buying over priced and rubbish magazine just to be helpful.


Hatespiders Wed 24-Dec-14 17:39:23

I hate to go on, but I was also told that most of them aren't homeless at all. One nicknamed Frosty the Snowman, in Norwich, used to sell the BI and go home afterwards to his gf's council flat. I stupidly asked 'my' prisoner how Frosty got his name. It was because he was a cocaine dealer!

run2 Wed 24-Dec-14 17:43:11

I am finding some of the responses here really depressing. Posts suggesting op reports her, that all vendors are on drugs (and the judgement therefore suggested) and complaints at being offered the Big Issue more than once in a day. Some of you really need to open your minds a bit more and find a bit of empathy. She tried her luck, she wasn't successful. Of course there have been problems with the Big Issue, there has been for years, but put those to the side for now and actually think about why those issue exist before deciding to anonymously push for the penalisation of an already vulnerable person.

YoullLikeItNotaLot Wed 24-Dec-14 17:44:33

Homeless doesn't just mean living on the street/sleeping rough.

Homeless can mean in insecure accommodation - emergency hostels etc. As stated above selling the big issue entitles sellers to receive housing benefit. It's part of the design of the programme. Therefore it's obvious that many of the sellers won't be homeless as in living on the street, but they may well be in very insecure accommodation.

run2 Wed 24-Dec-14 17:46:24

Yes there is homelessness and rooflessness.

whothehellknows Wed 24-Dec-14 17:49:35

I've been tapped up in exactly the same way by a BI seller outside Sainsbo's in Cambridge recently. I've gotten used to buying it on a Friday from a lovely guy, but this time there was a woman who needed to raise a similar amount for her rent that evening. I gave her a tenner, but it did kind of put me off approaching anyone but the usual guy. I'm a soft touch and I can't afford to give extra every time.

TheReluctantCountess Wed 24-Dec-14 17:49:40

Was she perhaps being sarcastic? I'm playing devil's advocate here. Maybe she thought it was odd that you bought two copies and it was her way of reacting?
If she is struggling, she may have depression or what-not and that can make you say odd things. (Like I do, most of the time!)

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